The Coming AI Shakeup in Legal

Legal departments and law firms are actively testing and using generative AI to improve efficiency and output. Early adoption is seen as a competitive advantage, but implementing the technology poses challenges around pricing, staffing, and billing models.


  • Major corporations and elite law firms are testing generative AI to identify use cases that increase efficiency. Waiting to adopt is considered a competitive risk.

  • Over half of Am Law 100 firms surveyed are testing AI to reduce attorney time on non-billable work. Most are concerned about introducing a new way of working to lawyers.

  • For larger firms, affordability of AI isn't the issue, but absorbing the impact on staffing, pricing, and business models poses a bigger challenge than for smaller, more nimble firms.

  • Pricing AI-enhanced services will require a shift away from billable hours to value-based pricing. This shift may be easier for newer, small firms than traditional Big Law.

  • Early AI adoption could let small firms leapfrog Big Law efforts once the cost comes down. But waiting risks falling behind as the legal industry moves quickly to keep pace with AI advancements.

  • As with past promising legal tech, Big Law will need to justify maintaining the status quo despite AI's disruption potential. All firms must weigh internal efficiency vs. external cost savings to clients.


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